One of our Operating Department Practitioners has received a national medal after living with Type 1 Diabetes for 50 years.
When Nigel Aldred was diagnosed, aged 12 in 1968, the possible complications of the lifelong condition were clear and not pleasant. But today, after 30 years in the NHS, including day and night shifts in emergency theatres, Nigel is still supporting patients and has received the Alan Nabarro Medal from Diabetes UK for living with the condition for 50 years.
Diabetes UK present the medals in recognition of the courage and perseverance of living with diabetes, giving them to people who have lived with the condition for over 50, 60, 70 or 80 years.
Nigel works in our Day Care Unit recovery team, looking after patients after they have had day-case surgery. He says living with the condition is all about looking after yourself and good monitoring.
“You need to be sensible and get the blood sugar monitoring and management right but, if you can do this, you can enjoy a relatively normal life. I’m careful and I look after myself and follow the advice I’m given.
“When I was first diagnosed with diabetes you had to do a urine test to monitor sugar levels – but this was really closing the stable door after the horse has bolted – it didn’t give a current reading of your blood sugars. The prick blood test was much better for an accurate level, but new monitoring systems are even better as you can just hold them on your arm and it does the trick. More research and knowledge has helped make the condition more manageable.
“We have come a long way – in 1968 it was difficult trying to find a sugar free drink and it was all quite strict about what you could and couldn’t eat. Today, thanks to research, there is more liberal approach and improved ways of monitoring. I would say to anyone being diagnosed now that it is manageable and you can still enjoy life.”
Diabetes Specialist Nurse Evelyn Bishop, who is one of the clinical team who support Nigel, said; “This is a real achievement for anyone with Type 1 Diabetes and we’re delighted that Nigel has received the medal. We want to celebrate this achievement and show that you can have a successful life and career while managing the condition.”
(Photograph top shows Nigel, centre, with Evelyn Bishop, right, and Laura Tovell of the Diabetes Nursing team. Below; Nigel with his award.)